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NHS Long Term Workforce Plan: 350 more medical school places allocated

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The Office for Students (OfS) has targeted under-doctored areas in its allocation of the medical school places

The government has allocated an additional 350 medical school places in England, making a significant step in delivering the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Supported by more than £2.4 billion in government funding, the plan outlines the strategy for recruiting and retaining hundreds of thousands more staff over the next 15 years to deliver the future workforce the NHS requires.

One of the key commitments of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan is to double the number of medical school places in England to 15,000 by 2031.

As part of the ongoing efforts to fulfill this pledge, the Office for Students (OfS) has designated 350 places for medical schools nationwide for the academic year 2025 to 2026, targeting under-doctored areas.

This will lead to a significant rise in the number of medical schools at universities in Sunderland, Leeds, East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin, Plymouth, and Surrey. Notably, the University of Surrey is receiving government-funded places for the first time.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins praised the government’s workforce plan, highlighting, “The NHS now has record funding and a record number of doctors.”

“I want to make sure that we will have the medical professionals we will need in the years ahead.

“That’s why we are delivering the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and doubling the number of medical school places, so we can train the next generation of world-class doctors to offer patients the highest-quality care,” she added.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said that the expansion of medical school places, combined with the introduction  of new doctor degree apprenticeship, has created unprecedented career opportunities in medicine.

Amanda Pritchard, CEO of NHS England, commented: “This is a hugely important moment for the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and marks one of the first steps towards our ambition to train more doctors in England than ever before – the record expansion will help us boost care for patients right across the country.”

“The ambitious blueprint for our workforce is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put NHS staffing on a sustainable footing, particularly as we continue to adapt to new and rising demand for health services.”

Last year,  the government allocated 205 additional medical school places for the 2024 to 2025 academic year, including providing government-funded places to three schools for the first time.

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